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Praying When We Feel Hungry

Parachute PrayerAre you ready for the first Parachute Prayer of the new year? I discovered this one while taking my son to the airport last week. It was a long drive, and we were running a little late. Suddenly my stomach started growling. I have no idea why; we’d just eaten a good dinner. But my stomach was hungry, and I didn’t dare ask to stop for food. We needed to get our boy to the airport on time.

My youngest son would call this a first world problem, but I didn’t really see it as a problem. I didn’t need to eat, and I knew when I’d be able to eat. My stomach just had to be patient. Thinking about this reminded me, however, that there are those who do need to eat and who don’t know when they’ll next be able to eat. They became the subject of this new Parachute Prayer.

Hunger ParachuteWhenever we feel hungry but can’t eat right away, let’s pray for hungry people who don’t know when they’ll get their next meal or if they’ll get enough to feel satisfied when they do. Let’s ask God to provide generously. Let’s ask Him to prompt others to pray—and to serve. Let’s ask Him what He wants us to do—on a regular basis—to help relieve this problem . . . in our communities . . . all over the world.

Then, if we have time (or maybe later when we have time), let’s let this Parachute lead us to others regarding needs in society. When we let Him, God’s Spirit will guide our thoughts from one prayer concern to another related concern and to another and on and on. Linger over the ones that most burden your heart. Trust all to our sovereign, loving God—the God Who Sees.

Father, thank You for seeing the needs of Your children all over this world. Please provide food, clothing, and shelter for those who don’t regularly have access to these basic needs. Warmth is crucial in many places at this time of year. Help the lonely find family and friends. Thank You for Your care. Thank You also for letting us participate in Your provision plan. Show us what we can do and prompt us to obey. We love You, therefore we love others. Help us to love generously in both word and deed . . . as Jesus did. Amen.

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The Conversation Begins: Parachute Prayer

Parachute Prayer PostI confess. I’m cheating this week because I’m enjoying holiday time with my family. The following post was first printed at Wildflower Thinking on September 14, 2008. It’s where the Parachute Prayer concept began.


Dear Readers,

When I first started writing this blog, I told you my goal is to become more intentional about seeking, finding, and sharing the Truths God has for me to learn. He’s planted life’s lessons everywhere, like wildflowers. I just have to slow down and pay attention, so I won’t walk on by leaving them unnoticed, unlearned, and untold—to wither and die unseen.

Another goal of mine is to become more intentional about sending up prayers about anything and everything all the time. Paul told us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17KJV). Practicing that concept can be fun! So from time to time, as I come up with a new prayer prompt or trigger, I’ll share the idea with you.

I realized these prayer reminders need a name you’ll recognize, and I wanted the name to fit my wildflower theme. Dandelions immediately came to mind. You pick a dandelion, blow on it gently, and send the seeds flying through the air. Prayer is like that. You send your prayers to Heaven, and God just blesses everyone! You never know where the blessings will land—but God does. They aren’t as random as they seem.

Interestingly enough, the little, fluffy grey things that blow off the dandelions to carry the seeds are called parachutes. And that image fits the concept I’m trying to communicate so perfectly from my perspective, that I think I’ll use it. When you see a blog titled, “Parachute Prayers,” you’ll know it’s an idea to promote prayer without ceasing in our lives. I hope you’ll find these ideas useful. I won’t post them unless they’ve been helpful to me.

Parachute Prayer #1
As you read the headlines in your paper or on your homepage, whisper short prayers for the people involved. Today we could pray for victims of Hurricane Ike, their families, and their rescuers. We could also pray for those injured in the Los Angeles train wreck and the Ural Mountain plane crash. Of course, the election outcome should be fervently in our prayers.*

You may come across local and human interest stories to pray about while you read, too. As you pray for strangers in your city and around the world, God will bring people you know and their personal needs to mind as well. Send up a few prayers for them before you go on your way. Parachute prayers are like wildflower thoughts. When you stop to consider one, you’ll find another behind it, then another and so on as you go through your day.


Since 2008, I’ve written many more Parachute Prayer prompts now available in my book by that name. To purchase it on Amazon, click here.


*Those were the headlines in 2008. Today I’m praying for tornado and flood victims. Of course, election issues are already and still in the news.

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Memory Gratitude

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Who Can We Pray For?

The Conversation BeginsIf you’ve been following this series, you already know the answer to this question. We can pray for anyone whose name or face comes to mind. In fact, if their name or face comes to mind, we can get in the habit of considering it a call to prayer. If we’re aware that God’s Spirit is with us always and learn to pay attention to His prompts, He’ll call us to pray for others more often than you may think. I’ve written about this in Parachute Prayer: the Practice of Praying Continually. I invite you read that book to learn more about this discipline.*

Here are a few ideas for now:

  1. We can pray for God. Jesus did! In The Lord’s Prayer, He prayed that God’s kingdom would come and His will be done.  We can ask for this, too. Does God need our prayers in order for His purposes to be accomplished? Ultimately, I don’t think so. I suspect the prayer for God is really for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us. When we ask for God’s kingdom to come and His will be done, we’ll become more aware of ways we can participate. We’ll become more willing and eager to participate. God’s Spirit will work through us to draw others into the action, too.
  2. Who We Can Pray ForWe can pray for our families.
  3. We can pray for our friends.
  4. We can pray for ourselves.
  5. We can pray for our churches.
  6. We can pray for our communities.
  7. We can pray for people who serve our families and communities.
  8. We can pray for our nation.
  9. We can pray for our world.
  10. We can pray for strangers we encounter while out and about.
  11. We can pray about needs we see on the internet, in the paper, or on TV.

We can pray for specifics if we know them, but if we don’t and sense a reason to pray, we can pray generically. God knows what’s going on in other people’s lives even when we don’t. Going one step further, we don’t even have to wait until we sense that someone needs a prayer. If we’re sitting in the airport waiting to board a flight, we can talk to God about the fellow travelers who come into view. If someone treats us with unexpected kindness—or undeserved grumpiness—we can whisper a prayer for that person as we go on our way. One deserves a blessing; the other may need it desperately.

Father, please make us sensitive to Your Spirit’s call to pray—for anyone, anywhere. You know the whole world’s needs. Thank You for inviting us to participate as You work in our world. Thy Kingdom come, Lord. Amen.


*If you’re starting to think about Christmas, Parachute Prayer even has a section on praying through the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and more. To order a copy from Amazon.com, click here.

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Praying Our Way through Fear

Not So Evil Clown

I can almost look at this picture without being terrified.

October. The month when people tend to celebrate all things scary. I don’t take it too seriously. My husband and I don’t decorate, but I don’t mind if the neighbors do. Bats, cats, pumpkins, skeletons, evil clowns . . . wait . . . no, no, no! Our neighbor across the street has actually plastered a clown face three times the size of his front door to the front of his house – the house that is facing mine! (This morning, I’m kind of hoping that the storm melted it down. Or does that only work for witches?) Clowns are fearsome things.

So I have a new Parachute Prayer today. When we see things that frighten us, let’s pray. Let’s let these fearsome things remind us to ask God for courage and for protection – for ourselves, for our families, from evils seen and unseen. Then let’s thank God for using these to remind us He is there. He is with us. And He is bigger than anything!

Father, thank You for watching over us. Thank You for Your presence, for Your protection, and for the courage that comes from knowing You are here. We love You, Lord! Amen.


You can find more Parachute Prayers in my book about them. Click here to order from Amazon.

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The Find-a-Penny Prayer

“Find a penny. Pick it up. All the day you’ll have good luck.”

I found a penny on the ground by my truck yesterday. I wasn’t even tempted to pick it up. I live in Texas now. It’s hot. That penny would have burned my fingers. But seeing it made me smile. I remember how exciting it was, as a child, to find a penny on the ground.

Find a Penny PrayerThough I didn’t claim yesterday’s penny, a new value for found pennies occurred to me. When we see pennies on the ground, let’s pray for the people who dropped them. The lost penny may not have caused great financial hardship (unless they’d been desperate for a cup of coffee, searched their car for change, found exactly the right amount needed, then dropped that one penny . . . these things do happen). But we can ask God to bless them financially, help them manage their money wisely, or even just to do something that will brighten their day.

Then, if we don’t pick up the penny ourselves, we can pray for the person who will! I’m picturing a child, but I also remember a pastor who used found pennies as a sermon illustration and explained why he always picks them up. (I don’t remember why, though, just that he always does. I’m guessing I didn’t remember what he’d hoped I would.)

Regardless, let’s let found pennies remind us to pray for those who dropped them and those who will pick them up. A conversation with Jesus is better than hoping for luck.


You know, I have to admit that some of the prayer prompts I come up with, like this one, sometimes seem a little silly at first. But I love discovering that something as simple as a penny on the ground can remind me to talk to God on another person’s behalf and that, as I talk to Him for that person, His Spirit immediately reminds me of other things to talk to Him about. As quick as that, I’m praying as I go about the random business of my day. And maybe that person who dropped a penny really needs to be remembered in prayer. Or maybe that prayer will remind me to pray for someone else’s known need that I forgotten to talk over with God. Or maybe God just wants to get my attention—for us to spend some time together in the middle of a busy day. I can’t look at anything that reminds me to talk to God as silly when I consider it that way. May everything around us come to remind us to pray.

Father, thank You for drawing my attention to a shiny penny on hot pavement. Thank You for reminding me to pray. Please help us all remember to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We love You. We love meeting with You—anytime of day. Amen.

For more prayer prompts, read my book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. Available for Kindle at Amazon.com or in paperback through several on-line bookstores.

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That the Fully Committed Will Stay Strong

Parachute Prayer Post“And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” -1 Kings 8:61

After Solomon built and dedicated God’s Temple, he spoke to the people. 1 Kings 8:61 records some of his words. When I read the first phrase of this verse, I started to pray for people I know who aren’t fully committed to the Lord. But then I read the last phrase. Solomon wasn’t urging the people to become committed to the Lord; he wanted them to stay that way. That little phrase, as at this time, reminded me, once again, that while it’s important to pray for the one lost sheep to be found (Luke 15:1-7), it’s also important to pray for the 99 who are safely in the fold.

And Solomon’s own life proves this. Just three chapters later, we read of Solomon’s downfall and death. This king who urged God’s people to remain faithful did not. Tragically, his choices set a series of events in motion that led the whole nation to fall. Likewise, when strong Christians falter, they tend to take others down with them. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” When our enemy gets hold of someone influential, he’s especially thrilled. It’s his opportunity to take a whole herd. For everyone’s sake, we must pray that those who are committed to God will find the strength in Him to stay that way.

Because Solomon was a king and because Christians are God’s “chosen people, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), let’s let symbols of royalty be our prompt to pray. When we see crowns, thrones, scepters, news of one royal family or another, let’s ask God to strengthen those who are fully committed to Him. May their hearts remain that way for their good, for the good of God’s Kingdom, and for God’s glory. Amen.


For more prayer prompts, read Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. Available in paperback or for Kindle.

 

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Praying for Those Taking Final Exams

Parachute Prayer PostDepending on where children live and what grades they are in, finals week can start as early as today (maybe earlier—I’m already seeing graduation pictures on Facebook!) or as late as two months ago. Regardless, it’s finals season! So let’s start praying for our kids—whether they’re our kids, our grandkids, someone else’s kids, or all the kids of our nation or even of our world. Finals are stressful! The pressure’s on; let’s pray.

I’ve come up with two prompts for this particular prayer. First, whenever you see a Number 2 pencil, pray. You know why, I’m sure, so I won’t explain. But if you’re praying for a particular child on a particular set of days, put a Number 2 pencil where it doesn’t belong, where you’ll see it often, where it will remind you to pray. I’m taping one to the microwave just as soon as I finish writing this post. My boy’s finals start today!

Finals Prayer PromptYou’ll encounter the second prompt when you go shopping. Graduation cards, invitations, and decor displays are starting to show up everywhere. Congratulations Class of 2015! We’re so proud of you! We’ll be even more proud once it’s official. Before these kids (and young adults) can graduate, they have to pass their finals. Let’s let these store displays remind us to pray.

Father, a good education is so important. We want our kids to develop healthy minds, to learn all they’ll need to know to enjoy the blessings and responsibilities of adulthood. As this school year comes to a close, please remind us to pray. Please help our kids to remember all they’ve studied and to be pleased with the results of their efforts. Thank You, Lord! Amen.


For more prayer prompts to practice, read my new book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually! Available here.

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Praying by Memory

Parachute Prayer PostShortly after our family moved to the Netherlands, I went on a road trip with a few of the ladies from our chapel to visit the Ten Boom* Clock Shop in Haarlem. We were about halfway there when we stopped at a rest stop. One friend said, “I don’t really need to go in there, but I’ve learned that on a road trip you never pass up the opportunity.” Ever since then, whenever my family pulls into a rest stop on a road trip, I think of this friend.

She might think this is an unfortunate way to be remembered, but it makes me smile. I also remember her whenever I get to buy lunch for a friend because, on that same trip, she insisted on buying lunch, saying, “If the day ever comes when I can’t afford to buy lunch for my friends, I will be in dire need.” Since she and I had only just met, I was touched to be considered a friend so quickly. That memory has stuck with me.

Prayer for MentorsWhen actions of my own such as these (stopping on a road trip or buying lunch for a friend) remind me of someone I’ve admired or appreciated, I see that as a call to prayer. As I take time to enjoy the memory, I thank God for the friend and whisper a prayer for her. If we’ve kept in touch over the years, I may know how to pray specifically. But even if we haven’t, God knows her situation, so I can ask Him to provide whatever she needs. The memory may even be the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting me to pray at just the right time for a serious concern. Knowing this, I’m even more thankful for precious memories that remind me to pray.

Father, thank You for the gift of memory and for the people You’ve blessed our lives with throughout the years. As memories of these people enter our minds, please prompt us to pray . . . to show our gratitude . . . to honor our friends . . . to intercede for them. Amen.


If you’d like to learn more about Parachute Prayer, my new book is now available on Amazon.

*For the record, Boom is pronounced Bohm. Corrie was too sweet to correct the American pronunciation, but as one who spent her growing up years explaining and defending the pronunciation of her maiden name, I feel the need to set the record straight. The tour guide at the clock shop agreed. (And, in case you were wondering, Benlien is pronounced Ben-lynn. But that’s a story for another day.)

I’ve shared this post on the Grace & Truth Link Up! Visit that site to find more inspirational thoughts this weekend.

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Exploring Other Blessings of Parachute Prayer

Parachute PrayerIn my new book, Parachute Prayer, I discuss four of the blessings that come from practicing these simple prayers. These are the primary blessings but not the only ones. Today I’d like to explore another one:

Parachute Prayers make us more aware of the trials other people face, giving us a stronger sense of compassion and empathy.

Here’s how this works:

Several of the prayer prompts in my book come from considering our own struggles. We identify the problem and pray about it, for ourselves, but we don’t stop there. Instead, we take a little time to think of others who may be going through the same thing and pray for them. If we don’t know anyone else who is suffering in the same way, we realize that, even so, our problem is not unique. God knows others who are challenged by it. So we pray for them. It doesn’t matter that we can’t pray for them by name. God knows who we are praying for. He knows it breaks our hearts that others are feeling the same pain we feel. He cares about us all.

Today’s new Parachute Prayer is one of these:

Fraud VictimsWhen someone treats you unfairly, pray for victims of fraud – people who’ve been conned, scammed, hacked, or just plain lied to. God sees it all and hates it. Ask Him to make things right, as only He can.

Then ask Him to help you and other victims to trust His ways. He doesn’t always work the way we want or expect Him to. He is working on behalf of everyone. He will make everything right in His time, delivering justice or offering grace. Our job is to talk to Him about the situation, forgive the offender, then trust God to work in the offender’s life.

And if forgiveness doesn’t come easily – I suppose it rarely does, ask God for help with this. Decide to enter the process of forgiving, be willing to forgive as God works on your heart, make forgiving the offender your goal. This process will help you draw closer to God while keeping bitterness out of your heart.

Father, thank You for all of the blessings of prayer. To think You hear us when we talk to You! You hear and You respond. Please help us to remember to bring all of our concerns to You. Help us to bring the similar concerns of others to You, too. Make us compassionate and forgiving, trusting You to see what’s wrong and make it right in Your perfect time. Amen.

To learn more about Parachute Prayer and its blessings, order your copy of my book here.